Monday, 20 July 2009

Nightmares and Memories

The photo, taken last year, is of the building that housed the school I went to from 1951 onwards. The building just visible to the left is the Mayor of London's new offices. When I was there that part was occupied by warehouses and cranes and other river-side industry. The whole area has now been redeveloped and is open to the public. There is a large green space called Potters Fields, next to Tower Bridge.

On Saturday evening, feeling tired, I thought for a change I'd have a cup of Horlicks before going to bed. It is supposed to help you sleep well, though I don't usually need any help, since I sleep like a log as they say. However, instead of sleeping well I had a nightmarish dream. It was one of a type I've often had over the years, in which I get lost in a labyrinthine transport system.

Probably some of this goes back to when I passed the 11-plus and was sent to St Olaves Grammar School which at that time was near Tower Bridge in London. This meant commuting every day, catching a bus to Plumstead station, a train to London Bridge ststion, and walking down Tooley Street. How I managed to put up with all that travelling for several years I now wonder.

I also remember we used to travel by train down to Dulwich to play cricket and rugby, since there were no playing fields nearby. This, if I recall correctly involved a change of trains at Denmark Hill, but my recollection is now hazy, but I remember that station for some reason. Later I worked in West London and travelled more on the underground system.

That may account for all the tunnels I get lost in in my dream. There was a curious prelude to the dream in which I was following a crowd of other people down the tunnels and we came to a moving wall which we had to hold onto by our fingernails! Some were falling off into oblivion. At the end when I reached the ticket barrier all I seemed to be holding instead of a ticket was something like a brown postage stamp. The ticket collector however was distracted and I ended up coming out some other way. The police were directing people in the opposite direction but didn't seem to notice me. I could go on, but am not sure I recollect anything clearly.

Some of this may have been stimulated by my recent trip to Lincoln for the Circular Chess. That was a bit complicated, the out journey being via Charing Cross, Kings Cross and Newark. On my way back I missed my connection to Peterborough, due to sitting too long on the wrong platform at Lincoln. No more Horlicks for me for a while!

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